POLS-Y 212 MAKING DEMOCRACY WORK (3 CR.)
Nature and justifications for democratic politics and the problems confronting democracy today. Demise of liberalism in America; rise of identity politics and its significance; racial inequality and the problems of deliberative democracy; problems of political alienation and participation.
1 classes found
|LEC||3||22136||Open||3:15 p.m.–4:30 p.m.||TR||WH 121||Isaac J
Regular Academic Session / In Person
LEC 22136: Total Seats: 50 / Available: 14 / Waitlisted: 0Show Details for section 22136
- COLL (CASE) A&H Breadth of Inq
- COLL (CASE) A&H Breadth of Inquiry credit
- Above class meets In Person. For more information visit https://covid.iu.edu/learning-modes/index.html
What does it mean to be an American? Who is an American citizen? What does it mean to be an American citizen? And how should a constitutional democracy relate to its citizens, to protect their rights and to ensure "the common welfare?" This class will trace and analyze the many ways that the meanings of American citizenship have been contested since 1776, and it will do so through a focus on alternative interpretations of the Declaration of Independence, which has sometimes been called the "birth certificate of American democracy." The Declaration is not the only important text in American political history (in particular, we will pay attention to its complex relationship to the U.S. Constitution itself). But it is a very important touchstone for many important historical debates, and is an even more important symbol of American political identity. It is also a very instructive example of the fact that core political symbols, texts, and principles can be interpreted in many different ways and can thus be heavily contested. Such rhetorical contests play an important role in the evolution of democracy over time, as disenfranchised groups appeal to "foundational" texts, like the Declaration, to justify their demands for recognition and inclusion-and as those who oppose recognition and inclusion also sometimes draw upon the same texts, though in very different ways. There is not one true "meaning" of the Declaration. But there are more and less educated interpretations of the Declaration. The primary goal of this course is to develop a historically and philosophically informed understanding of the Declaration-what it says, what it has meant, how it has justified many of the things most of us hold dear-and, by doing so, to nurture a more informed and reflexive understanding of American democracy.